More laughter in the face of societal degradation by Art Vandelay. Eye 8 The Crow is the duo’s third album in as many years. We’re still breathing and listening, much to Ricky Pharoe and Mack Formway’s chagrin.
[THE SIX is a regular interview feature on 206UP.COM with a simple format: One local hip-hop artist and six questions. For past editions click here.]
Zar is an up-and-coming Seattle MC who released a seven-song album back in January called Zulu Delta (Mello Music Group). The EP featured production by another local cat named Def Dee (that was this blog gushing about Def’s 2010 full-length collaboration with La, Gravity). Most folks, even inside this region’s boundaries, probably don’t know who Zar is yet, so let this edition of THE SIX be an introduction. I suppose you could qualify him as a throwback-type MC, though that assessment might not be accurate either given his limited run of publicly available material. Just know that Zulu Delta harkens back to rap’s famed Golden Era and succeeds with details by MC and producer that are only possible given a deep understanding of that particular aesthetic.
Let’s start with the basics because I don’t think a lot of people know who Zar is yet. Give a little background on yourself as an artist: your age, where you came up, how long you’ve been rhyming, and where you feel you currently fit in in the local rap scene.
Born in Seattle raised in Renton breathing since 1991. Currently 21 years old. Origin: Zacatecas, Mexico. Rhyming over rhythms for seven years and counting. My intentions weren’t to fit in in the local rap scene, they were to try and reconstruct the image of a Seattle MC. I wanted hip-hop heads from all over the sphere to recognize Seattle for being able to bring something new to the culture.
How’d you get connected with Def Dee?
I met Dominic in Junior High [in] Redmond. Dom and my older brother Rudy were in the same grade, ninth. I was two grades younger. Everything else fell into play after Dom started mixing on his Stantons. I felt as if hip-hop followed Dominic and Rudy, and everywhere they went people around them would be influenced by the lifestyle. All of [a] sudden people at school were B-boys or graph artists, or knew how to rhyme.
Does the Zulu Delta EP firmly represent who you are as an artist? Meaning, do you have a steez that’s rooted in mid-90′s boom-bap, or does your musical personality extend beyond that?
I personally don’t think the EP represents ZAR to the 90[th] power, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like the EP or productions. Dom and I just wanted to put the EP out to get heads open to the idea of a new sound, the sound that Zar brings. Lyric-wise I haven’t even begun.
What are your thoughts on the so-called recent revival of Golden Era / NYC-style boom-bap?
When I think about the resurrection of hip-hop I think KRS-One; Steez Capitol (R.I.P); Badass, Joey; Wu still ill; Budden, Joe; Marciano, Roc; Lux Loaded; 5’9, Royce; Crooked i; Kung Foo Grip; Language Arts; and ALCAZAR.
What’s the biggest challenge or obstacle you encounter when trying to succeed as an independent hip-hop artist?
I would say the entire process is one big obstacle until I make it, and even then there [are] going to be obstacles. But if I had to just throw one out there I would say distributing our music on a larger scale.
Any upcoming projects you’d like to announce and/or tease for the readers?
I am currently working on a full length album with Def Dee and hope to complete a full length album with all members from The Nine Six (The96Tape).
Based producer Keyboard Kid released a new beat tape today: Based in the Rain 3. In a suitably based interview with Live For The Funk, the Kid says this: “The Colors And Hues Of This Album Rep What Is Like Transitioning from Fall To The Winter And Finally Spring In Washington.. Like It’s Me Re-Awakening..” So, yeah. Don’t ask questions, son, just go with it…
2013 EMP Sound Off! champion Dave B with a new drop. Dude has a common name but uncommon dexterity on the mic. The Coffee is a seven-track extended player that does much to highlight Dave’s versatile flow and clever lyricism. The EP left me with the feeling that this MC is capable of much more. Fully realized potential and more expansive projects are hopefully on the way from Dave.
Raz Simone is just a young cat but on his new EP, Solomon Samuel Simone, he sounds like an old soul both in voice and lyrical content. The thoughtful five-piece reaches for emotional depth through an array of jazzy, percussive compositions and pensive subject matter concerning the state of the MC’s community, rap lifestyle, and romantic tribulations. Ambition matches talent — a rarity, it should be noted — on this first salvo from one of the Town’s most promising new voices.
Bambu isn’t technically a Seattle rapper but he spends so much time in the Town and has so many affiliates here that he may as well be. The Lean Sessions is a five-track EP produced entirely by Karman, a high school kid who’s making a name for himself in Los Angeles under the tutelage of DJ Phatrick. The original track called “Lean” appeared on Bam’s recent One Rifle Per Family which I gushed about here. Check out the video for “Lean” below.
The homie Scribes came through with a new track: “Hop On The Ride” produced by Sebino, of Members Only. Happy Friday, people!
206UP.COM is always excited for a new Kung Foo Grip drop. “The Wave” is off their Growing Up In The Future EP which you can download for free here.
CLICK :: LISTEN :: VOTE
206UP.COM’s The TrackMeet is a regular feature here on the blog that pits three relatively new or up-and-coming local hip-hop artists against each other in a battle-of-the-songs style competition. It’s easy to participate if you’re a reader: Just listen to the three featured tracks and then vote for your favorite in the online poll below. Voting lasts for one week. Each winning entrant will be featured on an upcoming TrackMeet Mixtape (the first edition of which you can download here). If you’re an artist looking to submit for an upcoming competition, click here for submission guidelines.
Here are this week’s contestants:
LANE 2: “Roll of the Dice” – BioLogic
LANE 3: “Young and Restless” – Campana
Thaddeus David dropped “Protected Investments” this morning, the first leak from his new album Treat Yourself, Don’t Cheat Yourself. Looking for something to do tonight? Catch TH and his Moor Gang family at Neumos.
Los Angeles-based singer Jarell Perry teams with Seattle indie darling Nacho Picasso, Duck Down soldier Torae, and the Bay Area’s Locksmith for this track off his upcoming Simple Things (March 18).
Spekulation dropped “All The Solders”, the first single from his upcoming Truth Be Told EP, last week, and followed it up with the visuals above. From the press:
Like the song, the video takes a personal look at the problem of violence in our society. The film focuses on a handful of people living in fear of the violence that has become a part of American life. It is a subtle film that poses powerful questions about how we choose to live our lives in the face of fear and uncertainty.
The King of Ballard enlists the help of some famous friends for a remix to “Mister Rogers”. Slug, Bam and Jake on the track is one of the most formidable lineups in recent Seattle rap memory. (And Bam expressing his concern over getting got in one of the Town’s most affable ‘hoods is worth a hearty chuckle.)
For real though, shout-out to the good folks at La Carta de Oaxaca, still one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle. And the mighty Than Brothers on Market. And the Majestic Bay Theatres, still the comfiest place to catch a flick in the Six. And the stylish but vastly overpriced Blackbird whose employees were mad helpful to my girl when she was tryna order me a dope Filson joint. Shit, man, Ballard is kinda filthy.
In which Aaron Cohen and crew cavort through Sunnyside, Queens. I looked at a few apartments in that neighborhood a couple years ago, this after New York magazine named it the third most liveable community in New York. Not with those hooligans roaming the streets.
Yet another entry in The Good Sin’s #FallBackSeason campaign. One track a week is a helluva pace. dunny.
Amid all the Bitter Barista drama, Spekulation still found time to drop a single from his upcoming EP, Truth Be Told. “All The Soldiers” is a politically-charged lament concerning America’s obsession with violence. Let the holier-than-thou snark police at Sprudge find something wrong with this.
Ballard’s Fin Records has added to its hip-hop lineup with the signing of Nissim (formerly Sportn’ Life recording artist D. Black). Miracle Music is the free kickoff to the new partnership with a full-length due from Nissim this summer.
CLICK :: LISTEN :: VOTE
206UP.COM is resurrecting THE TRACKMEET in all its amateur glory for 2013. If you’re relatively new to the Seattle rap game and trying to eke out some exposure go here for submission guidelines.
For the readers, this shit is simple: CLICK play on the three tracks below, LISTEN to each one, and then VOTE for your favorite in the online poll below. Voting lasts for one week so exercise the RT button and tell your grandma to log-on immediately. As always, winners will be forever enshrined on the next 206UP.COM TRACKMEET Mixtape, the first edition of which you can download for free here.
LANE 1: “Go Off” – Jai.P
LANE 3: “Man of the People” – MC DmK
Mello Music Group artist Substantial collaborated with Auburn’s finest hip-hop producer, Marcus D, for a remix to “Resilient” which you can find on Sub’s Home Is Where The Art Is.
This post simply echoes Larry Mizell’s Stranger missive from last Friday.
Tribal Productions was a collective of immensely talented/influential hip-hop artists active in the Puget Sound throughout the mid-90s. I was neither present nor learned on the scene’s happenings at that time, so I leave it to the authoritative voices of Deven Morgan and Jack Devo — two precious resources for telling what Seattle rap life was like before the teeny-boppers started caring — to drop knowledge.
I don’t know much, but I do know this: If you care to think of yourself as a Seattle hip-hop head, it’s best not to believe that this shit begins and ends with “Thrift Shop.”
Is anyone in Seattle rap working harder than The Good Sin these days? #FallBackSeason jam number whatever: “Doing Wrong, Feelin Right”.
The Bad Tenants are “what happens when hip-hop and blues get drunk … and make a baby”, according to the trio’s Facebook page. The crew originated in Bellingham and now do their dirt in Seattle. “The Rundown” is an example of either rap-rock fusion in harmoniously discordant consensus, or yet another bad piece of genre mish-mash suffering arrested development, depending on your point of view. File this one under “acquired taste.”
More #FallBackSeason goodness from The Good Sin. This time Key Calhoun joins Sinseer on “Road To Glory”, produced by Dupre.
Some new music from Dave B of the Le Fresh Perspective crew. “Foreign” is off Dave’s forthcoming The Coffee EP, due later this month.